Zettai Yabureru Nai - Never Tear Us Apart

The sequel to Shinjite Ai No Tsuzuki

An Inuyasha Fanfiction by Aoikami Sarah

 

Chapter Two

 

            Yousuke ran. The farmer’s wife had told him that the beast (which just HAD to be the one that took his sister) headed north. He ran past the fields and into the forest. He could plainly see the path the thing had taken, knocking down small trees and undergrowth as it went. He could only imagine with the farmer’s wife’s description that this monster was huge, tentacled and could move about as fast as a horse at full gallop.

            ‘I won’t catch them at this rate!’ he thought and leaned further forward, pumping his arms as he bounded over fallen trees and rocks. Something didn’t feel right. His legs burned from exertion, certainly, but more as if he were unused to running. He was his high-school’s track star, so that was impossible. As he charged forward, Yousuke adjusted his style to fit the terrain and the strange pain in his legs.

            When the sun was over his head, he stopped for a rest. Yousuke came upon a clearing and simply tucked into a roll and flopped down in the tall grass.

            “Ahhhh!” he sighed. “That was great!” His heart raced, his lungs heaved, but a large smile spread across his face. He watched the clouds go by and slowly frowned as he remembered the task at hand. “Bet that monster doesn’t hafta rest. Che,” he snorted. ‘What am I gonna do when I find this thing?’ he thought suddenly. ‘Can I take on a youkai with nothing but my bare hands?’ Yousuke sat up and scratched his ear. “Gonna hafta try. I gotta find Misora.” Once again, the boy started running. He kept his chest and head low, his arms almost at his sides as he sprinted through the woods, only occasionally raising them to scratch his ears.

            “Damn. I must be allergic to all this country livin’,” he snickered.

 

.x.

            Mrs. Higurashi sat across from Inuyasha and stared at her daughter who stared into the darkness of her steadily over-brewing cup of tea. Inuyasha rubbed his hand absently over her back and watched the tea as if he expected it to give them all the answers to the questions that boiled in their brains.

            “How…?” Kagome finally whispered. “Without the Shikon no Tama…?”

            “Well,” Inuyasha began, “I swallowed the thing…”

            Slowly, his wife turned her head and gave him a look. “Are you suggesting that the Tama migrated its way from your… SEED,” she cleaned up her phraseology for her mother’s sake, “to our children!?”

            “Do you have any better ideas?” he snipped back.

            “Minna…” Mrs. Higurashi reached across the table and held Kagome’s hand, staving off the oncoming argument. “Does it matter how they went through the well, or THAT they went through?”

            “Sorry,” Kagome slumped a little.

            “Sorry.” Inuyasha took her into his arms.

            “Kaasan…” Kagome sighed, “This must be how you felt… when this happened to me.”

            She nodded. “And it was your fifteenth birthday, too.”

            “Sou!” Inuyasha straightened up. “That must be the connection! Before you were fifteen, you never sensed the Shikon no Tama, did you? So maybe that’s why you didn’t sense it in Yousuke. It was latent or something!”

            “What if it wasn’t in Yousuke…?” Kagome bit her lip. “Misora’s gone, too.”

 

.x.

            As the light disappeared, Yousuke slowed to a jog and kept his eyes open for a suitable place to sleep. He had no tent and no blanket and the night air this spring was still cool. He knew if he slept on the ground he would awake damp and cold. The rocks were still chilly with the thaw. Just ahead he spied a fat, old tree with thick, low branches.

            “That’ll do,” he said to himself and clamored his way up. Within moments, night fully descended and he was fast asleep.

 

.x.

            From the outside, the palace seemed to have been long deserted, which in fact it had. Most travelers who stumbled upon it were overcome with a sense of unease or fear even before laying eyes on it. Such was the aura that the palace exuded.

            Inside, Misora lay on the cold floor, unconscious. A small lamp burned a few feet away. It flickered as a long shadow appeared over the girl’s body.

            “So this is her?” a woman’s voice lilted. “This is the bearer of the Shikon no Tama?”

            “Yes,” came the reply from the shadows.

            “So why don’t you have it in your hand?”

            “It is more complicated than at first thought.”

            The woman snickered. “You mean you’re not strong enough to get it from her?” Her mirth was short-lived as she suddenly choked and clutched her chest.

            “Do not forget, Kagura, I am strong enough to squeeze your heart.”

            “Damn you!” she managed to gasp as he relaxed his grip.

            “I may not be able to take the jewel from her…” he hissed as he slithered across the floor. “But I can use her power to my advantage.”

            “She’s just a child…” Kagura scoffed.

            “She is also a Miko.” Vines spiraled out from the darkness and wrapped around Misora, lifting her a little into the air. “Wake up, Girl.”

            Misora stirred and immediately panicked. Both of her captors flinched as she shrieked.

            “Make it stop!” Kagura covered her ears.

            “Girl, what is it you most desire?”

            Misora wailed, “I wanna go hoooooome!” The vines encircled her head.

            “No, think deeper.” Her eyes closed and she stopped resisting. “What is it you most desire? I will give it to you.” He leaned closer, his half-decomposed, distorted face looking even more frightening in the scant light.

            “Naraku,” Kagura hissed, “What are you doing?”

            He ignored her and probed the girl’s brain.

            “Aniisan…” she whispered. “Don’t look down on me anymore, please…”

            A satisfied grin spread across the hanyou’s face. “So that’s it then. Don’t you worry, Girl. Your big brother will cower in fear when I’m done with you.”

            Kagura stepped back a few paces and grit her teeth as Naraku began his sorcery.

 

.x.

            The dawn roused a cold Yousuke sometime around five. He watched the sky brighten for a while, trying to fathom all that had happened to him. When the thought of his sister in presumable peril wandered into his mind, he leapt down from the tree he had been sleeping in and started running, slowly at first so as to warm up. Within 20 minutes he was back to the break-neck pace he had been going at the day before. The trail was still fresh and leaned only little to the north-east.

            Just before noon, Yousuke started getting hungry. The granola bar his mother always left in his backpack had been a poor dinner. “Aw man,” he thought out loud. “Am I gunna hafta kill something?” He slowed his pace and listened carefully. He must have scared off any wild-life with his entrance. Deciding that his stomach wouldn’t let him continue without fuel, he walked for a mile until the woods were more alive with activity. He saw squirrels and birds and rabbits, but had no idea how he was supposed to catch one and eat it.

            The forest went suddenly very quiet. Yousuke stopped. ‘I know I didn’t make enough noise to do that…’ he thought and looked around. The hairs on the back of his neck pricked up. ‘That doesn’t feel good…’ He swallowed and tried not to move or breathe. The vegetation a few hundred yards behind him rustled. He squeezed his eyes shut. ‘Don’t be a youkai don’t be a youkai don’t be a youkai…’

            A low rumble that echoed like thunder but sounded like a growl emanated from the thing approaching him. The desire to run was rising in him, but Yousuke took a deep breath and prepared himself. As the beast emerged, Yousuke remembered something he saw on the Discovery channel about bears and how although they may be fearsome, one can sometimes out-scare a bear by screaming at it.

            The boy sucked in a breath and turned around. He didn’t know how the hell he was going to out-scare a 30-story demonic fox, but he gave it a shot. Letting all the air out of his lungs, he screamed as loud and as ferociously as he could. The demon blinked twice, and much to his surprise didn’t eat him. It leaned forward and took such a huge sniff that Yousuke’s hair stood on end for a second. The fox narrowed its eyes. The thing’s massive head was only inches from his face.

            “Inuyasha?” the beast roared.

            “Uh, No. My name’s Yousuke.” He sweat profusely and clenched his fists. Did this demon have a grudge against his father? Yousuke knew his father had known a kitsune youkai, but not a huge beast like this. Shippou was just a little boy in the stories his parents told. He always liked to hear about Shippou, but was always upset that he wasn’t very strong. ‘No!’ he thought. ‘This can’t be the same youkai.’

            A flash of blue flame surrounding the entire demon startled Yousuke. He fell on his behind in the grass. When he looked up again, standing, looking down over him was a teenaged boy with a long, fluffy, auburn tail. His feet were those of a fox, and his ears were pointed, but he wore a smile and a normal looking set of gi-pants and a kimono shirt. “Yousuke, ka?” the teen asked. “You sure look a lot like a friend of mine.”

            “Tha-that how you treat friends?!” Yousuke leapt up and cried.

            “No.” The teen frowned. “That’s how I keep people outta my territory. Now scram.”

            Yousuke watched, astounded as the kitsune turned his back and started walking away. “Omae! You can’t stop me from crossing this land! I’m on a mission! So screw you!” The kitsune stopped and looked back at the boy with a soft, wondering look that calmed him. Yousuke took a deep breath. “Were you friends with Inuyasha? Is that why you said that?”

            “Yes I was.”

            ‘Dumbass!’ Yousuke smacked himself internally. ‘He was a little boy in the stories ‘cause it’s been 20 years!’ “You’re Shippou, aren’t you?”

            His eyes widened. “Yuh-yes!”

            “I’m Kawano Yousuke, Inuyasha’s son.”

 

.x.

            Many miles to the north, a swarm of youkai closed in on an abandoned palace. It hissed and seethed as it approached. In the mid-day sun, the building looked far blacker even that it did at night. From its shadows, a young woman emerged.

            “Naraku sends a child to do his dirty work, does he?!” a large, foul beast cried from the front line. He was taller than the rest and seemed to represent the others’ feelings. They jeered behind him. “We heard the bastard was back. We wants to see him with our own eyes!” he laughed and pointed to the plethora of yellow, sickly eyes which dotted his face. “Step aside, Child.”

            High above them, sitting on the roof, Kagura watched. “You best show me your worth, girl. I will kill you if fail,” she whispered, her voice carried on the wind. The young woman nodded, raised two fingers and crouched down. As the horde of demons stumbled forward, she pounced. Her claws slashed every one of them clean through. In a matter of minutes, all that remained was a pile of corpses. She ripped a shirt off of one and dried her bloody hands.

            “Very nice, Child,” Kagura commended as she fluttered down to the ground.

            “Do not call me child,” she commanded with a voice like cold iron. Kagura shivered involuntarily.

            “Very well. I shall call you Sorako.”

            Without changing her blank expression, Sorako turned and walked back into the palace.

            “My gods, Naraku. This creature is nothing like us,” Kagura whispered to herself. “What have you done?”

 

.x.

            The phone rang at least four times before Inuyasha could get to it. He jogged into the living room and picked it up before the machine got it.

            “Hello?”

            <“Inuyasha, Hi! It’s Honda.”>

            “Oh, hey Miroku. What’s up?”

            <“Just seeing about this Tuesday. Are we still on?”>
            “What? Oh! Dinner. Oh… Well,” Inuyasha walked into the kitchen, away from the stairwell. “Miroku, There’s something you should know about…”

            He told his friend about their children’s disappearance.

 

            Since Honda Miroku had knocked on their door with his sister Sango five years ago, they had been involved with the Kawano family. They brought with them a book in which the Sango and Miroku of the Sengoku Jidai had written about their adventures. It had been handed down through the generations of their family in order for it to make its way into Inuyasha and Kagome’s hands in the future. Honda Sango and her brother, Honda Miroku were the direct descendants of the couple who had been such good friends with Kagome and Inuyasha all those years ago. The Hondas had, in the last five years become fast friends of the Kawanos.

 

            While Inuyasha told of their plight, Kagome came slowly down the stairs. She winced as she heard the conversation. Just for five minutes, she’d like to not be reminded of her helplessness.

            Inuyasha spied her and cupped the phone. “I think we should have them over as planned. I think we need something normal to do.”

            “I don’t know…”

            “Please, Kagome? Just for a little while even? Maybe it’ll help.” He gave his wife a pleading look. For three days now he had been unable to cheer her.

            “Ok,” she shrugged and made for the tea pot.

            “Ok, Miroku. We’ll see you guys then. Ja.” Inuyasha hung up the phone and laced his arms around his wife’s middle. “Thanks.”

            “What for?”

            “For humoring me.”

            “Sure, but I can’t see how it can possibly help to have dinner guests.”

 

.x.

            Shippou and Yousuke talked for hours till it began to get dark. The boy told him what happened in the well and his quest for his sister. He also astounded the kitsune with stories about what Inuyasha and Kagome were like nowadays.

            “He’s a construction worker!?” Shippou bellowed.

            “What’s so funny about that?!” Yousuke frowned.

            “Nothing! I just can’t, I don’t… That’s so WEIRD!”

            “You think that’s weird? This is pretty weird right here. I never thought this would actually happen, all those years I hoped and dreamed that it would. I used to think my life was so boring; that there was something else more important I was supposed to be doing…”

            “You don’t anymore?” Shippou asked, getting up.

            “I don’t know,” he whined.

            “Well, let’s cash in. I’ve got a little cave up around here. We’ll start out early tomorrow.”

            Yousuke stood and looked at his new friend strangely. “We?”

            “Yeah! You kiddin? Think I’d let Inuyasha’s son have fun without me!?” he laughed and jogged ahead. Yousuke shrugged, smiled and jogged after him.

 

.x.

            Yousuke woke the next morning after an unusually uncomfortable sleep. Once again, dawn had not quite arrived yet. He noticed that Shippou was still snoozing on the other side of the smoldering fire in his quaint, little cave. Yousuke stretched and went to the cave opening. As he brought his hand up to scratch his ear, he gasped. His ear was gone. A huge shudder rippled through him. His hands felt different too. Bringing them up before his eyes, he studied them closely. The fingernails were long and sharp. As if still in a dream, he snapped his fingers to see if they were in fact his. He heard the sound of the snap as if he had never heard anything before.

            ‘If I can hear…’ he thought in a panic. ‘Where are my ears!?’ His hands wandered to the top of his head.

 

            “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!”

            “What what what!?” Shippou shouted as he leapt up. “What’s goin’ on?!”

            “What the hell happened to me!?” Yousuke shouted and faced his friend.

            “Woah,” Shippo breathed and circled him. “When’dja get them?”

            “And these!” He held up his clawed hands.

            “Now you look JUST like your dad!”

            Yousuke stopped panicking. “I do?”

            “Well, his hair was a bit longer and such, but yeah.”

            “But I’m not a hanyou. Dad’s been human for like 20 years!”

            “Well, something about being here has brought out the youkai blood in you. There’s no doubt about it.”

            Yousuke’s chest swelled a bit at this statement. “Yeah,” he thought and ran out of the cave. He leapt 60 feet straight up into a tree in one bound and nearly scared himself to falling when he slashed out at a branch with his new-found claws, severing it. “This rocks!” he shouted.

            Shippou laughed at him. “Ok, Junior, time to hit the road. We have a sister to save.”

 

            They ran along the forest floor and bounded off trees together for miles till they got hungry. Yousuke was glad he was with someone who actually knew how to hunt. The boys began stalking some foul when both of them felt something amiss.

            They exchanged looks and moved closer together. Yousuke’s ears swiveled towards a stray sound. “Get down!” he shouted and pushed Shippou out of the way, just as four, thin throwing knives whizzed through the air where his head had been. They planted instead into a tree. Yousuke bounded after the attacker and Shippou followed.

            “Come back here, coward!” Yousuke shouted. Finally, he saw a dark shape flicker between some trees. He anticipated the next move and popped up right where the attacker was headed next.

            The ninja looked very surprised by the grinning hanyou, but punched him and took to the trees just as quickly. Yousuke followed closely and before long was ahead of the ninja again. With a quick leg he swept the ninja’s feet out from under him and he fell to the forest floor, some 30 feet below.

            Yousuke jumped down on top of him. “Hiya. Wanna tell me why you want us dead?” He reached out quickly and stopped the ninja’s hand from distributing more of those little knives.

            Shippou came upon the scene, stopped, looked and smirked. “Well well well. Seems like you’ve learned nothing in the last five years, Nanaka.”

            While he was distracted, the ninja pushed Yousuke off and jumped up.

            “Nice to see you too, Shippou-kun.” The ninja pulled down her mask and shook the grass out of her long, red pony tail. She looked to be about 17 or so, but the bridge of her nose was dotted with freckles, giving her a more youthful appearance. She was dressed as a ninja in dusty, black with brown armor plates at her shoulders, elbows, knees and waist. Four more throwing knives were tucked under the breast plate and a katana hung at her side.

            “You know her?” Yousuke asked, skeptically.

            “Know her? I trained her.” He turned to the girl “I didn’t realize I was so far into your territory. I apologize for the intrusion.” He bowed low.

            “Don’t be a jerk. Come on. Lunch is probably nearly ready.” With that she turned and led them out of the woods and onto a path. “So who’s your little friend?”

            Yousuke bristled a bit at the comment. Shippou laughed again. “His name’s Yousuke. And watch it with the ‘little’, he kicked your ass back there, Nanaka, he could do it again.”

            She clenched her fists, but kept her comments to herself. A large village came into view. “Do you want lunch or not, Shippou-kun?”

            Again, Shippou laughed. Yousuke noticed Nanaka’s freckles disappear under her blush.

 


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